Education Briefs

Back to January 2016 Ed Reporter

Education Briefs

In October, a parent lunch monitor and the principal at Glendo High School in Platte County, Wyoming told Christian students that they couldn’t form a prayer circle and pray before eating a meal in the school cafeteria and instead had to go to a place away from other students if they wanted to bless their food. But their problem was solved by one letter to the school district from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), lawyers trained to defend religious liberty. Once ADF pointed out the school’s error in interpreting the First Amendment and threatened to take legal action, the district superintendent consulted attorneys. In the end, the superintendent responded to ADF, “I think our staff and district have a better understanding of students’ rights regarding prayer and how to handle future incidents.” Students are now allowed to pray in prayer circles before meals at school. (ADFmedia.org, 12-18-15)

Even as Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which increases academic training for preschool children, an important study was released showing that waiting an additional year to start kindergarten is more developmentally appropriate. The Stanford University Center for Education Policy Analysis studied tens of thousand of students and reported: “We find that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces [73%] inattention/hyperactivity at age 7, a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement.” The study says that the effects of postponing academic focus are still evident at age 11. (cepa.Stanford.edu, 10-2015)

The graduation rate for the nation’s class of 2014 reached a record 82%, which is an all-time high and represents an increase of 1 percentage point from the class of 2013’s graduation rate, according to data released by the U.S. Dept. of Education. (Education Week, 12-15-15)

President Obama will avoid Senatorial confirmation for John King, the former New York chancellor of schools, by calling him “acting” Secretary of Education, replacing Arne Duncan. (Washington Post, 12-24-15)